Poetry Fiction Issue

A Mile Down the Road From Home

More

Hear the author read this poem

I’ve caught myself
whistling a bumpy version
of “Take the A Train,” and only
because this catbird
in a beach-plum thicket has
taken me up on it,
or close enough, the bird
keeping a breath or two behind,
as if trying to hear where
I’m taking him, then diving
back into his own song line,
improvising along his strung-out
warbles and gutturals, and now
a few kingfisher rattles
and perhaps a black-billed cuckoo
or something else he’s brought
up the hemisphere for this
season of courtship, cackles
and chucks, even a tree frog’s piping.
I can feel Darwin frowning over me
like a thunderhead. A little
shaky about messing around
in natural selection, I look
both ways, taking care the bird
and I are alone before I donate
a ragged thread from “Peter Grimes”
to this slate-colored, black-capped
male who has only
a rufous undertail for flash.

Brendan Galvin’s latest collection is Habitat: New and Selected Poems, 1965–2005. He lives in Truro, Massachusetts.
Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

What Is the Greatest Story Ever Told?

A panel of storytellers share their favorite tales, from the Bible to Charlotte's Web.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Death of Film

You'll never hear the whirring sound of a projector again.

Video

How to Hunt With Poison Darts

A Borneo hunter explains one of his tribe's oldest customs: the art of the blowpipe

Video

A Delightful, Pixar-Inspired Cartoon

An action figure and his reluctant sidekick trek across a kitchen in search of treasure.

Video

I Am an Undocumented Immigrant

"I look like a typical young American."

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

More back issues, Sept 1995 to present.

Just In